With Jaitley ruled out, will Amit Shah be the next finance minister of India
New Delhi, May 24: With the BJP's resounding performance in the Lok Sabha elections, there is now speculation rife, whether party president Amit Shah would be the part of the Narendra Modi-led union Cabinet.
The opinion is divided within the party on whether Shah should continue as the party chief or get a top post in the union Cabinet. Speculation is that Shah is being considered for the post of Home Minister.
The RSS on the other hand would want Shah to continue as the party chief. It feels that Shah has helped the party grow exceptionally and hence should remain BJP president.
Sources tell OneIndia that there would be some more discussion on this issue before a final call is taken. The party is looking to push harder in states such as West Bengal.
Moreover with this victory, governments in Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka look shaky and in such a scenario, it would be important to have Shah at the helm where party affairs are concerned.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is unlikely to be a part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Cabinet in the BJP government's second term due to his ill health, which may require him to travel to either the UK or the US for treatment of an undisclosed illness, sources with knowledge of the matter said.
Jaitley, 66, has become "very weak" as his health has deteriorated over the past few weeks, sources said, adding that he has developed some throat condition as well that prevents him from speaking for long. He was admitted to AIIMS earlier this week to undergo tests and treatment for an undisclosed illness and was discharged on Thursday but did not attend celebrations at BJP headquarters that evening after the party's emphatic victory in the general elections.
Sources said Jaitley is not keen to take up a ministerial position in the new Modi government and may have conveyed his unwillingness to hold any position, such as a minister without portfolio, to Modi. Doctors treating him have advised him to go to the UK or the US for treatment, they said. Jaitley, whose health has been on a decline ever since he underwent a kidney transplant in May last year, will take a call in the next few days on the issue.
He has not attended office for the last three weeks and has rarely been seen in public. He, however, has been writing blogs and tweeted on Modi's victory on Thursday. He did not attend the Cabinet meeting called on Friday that recommended dissolution of the 16th Lok Sabha. Sources said that he, however, met all the five secretaries in his ministries at his residence in what was described as a routine meeting.
A lawyer by profession, he has been the most important leader in Modi's Cabinet and has often acted as the chief troubleshooter for the government. While as a finance minister he steered through Parliament major economic legislations such as the nationwide Goods and Services Tax (GST) -- which had languished for nearly two decades, he has also played key role in getting through several other laws such as the bill to ban the Muslim instant divorce practice known as 'triple talaq'.